By Michael Donovan
The Vince Velasquez story just keeps getting worse for the Phillies.
Mike Leake’s single scored two runs and he pitched seven strong innings yesterday as the St. Louis Cardinals homered four times to beat the Phillies 9-0.
Jedd Gyorko, Stephen Piscotty, Brandon Moss and Jeremy Hazelbaker went deep.
“It’s not the only way we can score runs but it’s our main way,” Moss said. “We’ve got a lot of guys in the lineup that can do a lot of damage. It’s nice to have guys in the lineup who can change a game like that.”
The Cardinals had hit multiple home runs in nine straight games, tying a major league record, before failing to connect twice Saturday night in a 4-2 loss. Manager Mike Matheny was happy to see the bats get going again.
“We needed that to continue to watch these guys stay in a good rhythm,” he said.
Jhonny Peralta added three hits as the Cardinals finished a 6-3 road trip. They remained 1 1/2 games ahead of Miami for the final wild-card spot in the National League.
The Cardinals got six extra-base hits to set a club record of 14 straight games with at least three extra-base hits.
Leake (9-9) gave up seven hits and struck out eight. The Phils had homered in 14 straight games before getting blanked by Leake and two relievers.
“He needed that, we needed that,” Matheny said. “It was a great outing for him. You’re seeing some strange swings because the ball was moving a lot for him today, and I thought he used his changeup well. And the breaking ball was there for strikes when he wanted it.”
Velasquez (8-6) fell to 0-4 with a 6.23 ERA in his last seven starts.
“He wasn’t locating his secondary pitches,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “He’s going to be real good at one point. He’s got to keep working on it.”
Moss hit his 23rd homer and Leake added his single later in the fourth for a 4-0 lead.
Piscotty connected in the fifth, the eighth home run Velasquez has allowed in three games.
“I’m trying to figure it out,” Velasquez said. “I can’t give a solid answer because I don’t know what it is.”
Velasquez struck out 16 in a game earlier this season, but big league hitters have caught on to his fastball.
“I didn’t have electric stuff early and next thing you know everything goes south when you don’t have your secondary pitches,” he said. “I’m not figuring it out and haven’t found that turning point yet.”
In the eighth, Gyorko hit his 20th homer and Hazelbaker had a pinch-hit drive.